The Principles of Identity of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in the United States and Canada
We are Disciples of Christ, a movement for wholeness in a fragmented world. As part of the one body of Christ, we welcome all to the Lord's Table as God has welcomed us.
1. We confess that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the Living God, and proclaim him Lord and Savior of the world, requiring nothing more - and nothing less - as a basis of our life together.
2. We hold the centrality of scripture, recognizing that each person has the freedom - and the responsibility - to study God's Word within the community of the church.
3. We practice the baptism of believers, which emphasizes that God's grace demands a response of faith and discipleship, while also recognizing the baptism performed in other churches.
4. We gather for the Lord's Supper, as often as possible, experiencing at this table the gracious, forgiving presence of Jesus Christ.
5. We structure our community around the biblical idea of covenant, emphasizing not obedience to human authority but accountability to one another because of our shared obedience to Christ.
6. We participate in God's mission for the world, working with partners to heal the brokenness of creation and bring justice and peace to the whole human family.
7. We hear a special calling to make visible the unity of all Christians, proclaiming that in our diversity we belong to one another because we commonly belong to Christ.
8. We witness to the Gospel of God's saving love for the world in Jesus Christ, while continuing to struggle with how God's love may be known to others in different ways.
9. We affirm the priesthood of all believers, rejoicing in the gifts of the Holy Spirit - which include the gift of leadership - that God has given for the common good.
10. We celebrate the diversity of our common life, affirming our different histories, styles of worship, and forms of service.
11. We give thanks that each congregation, where Christ is present through faith, is truly the church, affirming as well that God's church and God's mission stretch from our doorsteps to the ends of the earth.
12. We anticipate God's coming reign, seeking to serve the God - Creator, Redeemer, and Sustainer - whose loving dominion has no end.
What Disciples Believe - A Summary
1. The Oneness of the Church – All Christians are called to be one in Christ and to seek opportunities for common witness and service.
2. Open Communion – The Lord’s Supper, or Communion, is celebrated in weekly worship and it is open to all at the invitation of Jesus Christ.
3. The Ministry of Believers – Both, ministers and lay persons, lead in worship, service, and spiritual growth. Men, Women, and Youth are encouraged to serve in all facets of congregational life.
4. Baptism by Immersion – In baptism, the old self-centered life is set aside, washed away, and a new life of trust in God begins. Although Disciples practice baptism by immersion, other baptism traditions are honored.
5. The Bible – God’s Word of love and reconciliation, equipping the Church with direction in mission and spiritual food for each person’s growth and maturity in the Christian faith.
6. Freedom of Belief – As disciples, we are called together around two essentials of faith: a belief in Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior, and that Christians are free to follow their conscious guided by Bible study, the Holy Spirit, and prayer. Therefore, we seek to extend both that belief and that very same freedom to others.